The Cataldo Mission is the oldest standing building in the state of Idaho. The Jesuits came to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho in the early 1840s with the first mission being established on the St. Joe River about 35 miles south of the present site. In 1846, the mission was closed due to flooding, and a new mission church was begun on this site, which has always been sacred to the natives of the area.
The Old Mission (built 1848-1853) was a combined effort of the missionaries and over 300 native Catholics. Fr. Ravalli, an Italian born Jesuit, designed the building to resemble the elegant cathedrals of his homeland, using local materials.
The Old Mission was the site of the council following the conflict with Colonel Steptoe, and also served as headquarters for the Mullan Road crews.
In 1887, the mission itself was moved to DeSmet, Idaho, to the Coeur d'Alene reservation. The building still stands, as a monument to the cooperation of the Coeur d'Alene tribe and their missionaries. It sits on a beautiful knoll, overlooking the Coeur d'Alene River. The mission and parish house are open for tours, there are picnic grounds and walking paths, a Visitors Center, and two historical cemeteries.
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